Pre-hire assessments: buy or build?

So you’ve decided you’d like to use pre-hire assessments to improve how you hire. The next question is what type?

Hopefully, our buyer’s guide gave you the full lowdown on how to choose the right assessment, but the main question you’ll need to make is whether to build or buy your assessments.

Building doesn’t mean starting from scratch though. Customised assessment providers have made it affordable for most companies to benefit from a bespoke approach, but buying off the shelf assessments can be a more appropriate option for lower volume hiring.

Here’s the rundown on the pros and cons of each approach:


No two jobs are exactly the same. In fact the same job in different companies can feel completely alien. Customised assessments enable you to assess how the skills, behaviours and competencies you’re looking for materialise within your unique work context.

They also allow you to deliver a branded, customised candidate experience that communicates the reality of life in a specific role within your organisation.

Because they’re tailored to your exact requirements, they are typically highly predictive of job performance and can therefore be used to fairly and objectively automate selection at the start of the hiring process.

In summary you’ll want to build if you: 

  • have a high volume hiring requirement (with ThriveMap it works out cheaper if you make over 100+ hires per year into a specific job or job family)
  • want to save time by automating selection decisions
  • want to deliver a unique candidate experience
  • want to customise what your managers see in terms of insights and reports
  • want to communicate your employer brand to candidates and stand out amongst the competition
  • want an assessment that considers your organisational context and culture


Off-the-shelf assessments enable you to measure generic capabilities and skills via standardised tests. In general, they’re not as predictive as customised assessments as they don’t consider any of the nuance of the roles you’re hiring into.

It’s also rare that the attributes they claim to measure will match perfectly to your ideal candidate profiles, instead, you’ll have to rely on the test providers definitions and frameworks.

On the plus side though they come pre-validated are quick to administer and should give you security that candidates have the basic abilities to perform in the role.

You may also be able to use off-the-shelf tests to identify top performer characteristics by getting existing employees to take them and see if there are any patterns in the data. You may want to proceed with caution with this approach as although it makes sense to want to model top performers, the results you discover may not be aligned with your hiring criteria, may not be reason people are performing well and they may not be job relevant characteristics.

In summary you’ll want to buy if you:

  • have a low volume hiring requirement – typically less than 100 hires per year
  • want to use the same assessment across multiple different roles e.g. test a general cognitive ability
  • want something that supports the decision making process
  • want to launch something straight away
  • don’t think culture or environment has a significant impact on performance in role

So there you have it. Build or buy? It’s up to you, and if you have any questions about which assessment you might need, we’d love to hear from you.

Improve your hiring with ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised work simulation pre-hire assessments which take candidates through a “day in the life” experience of work in your company. It helps companies to uncover their best candidates through real work scenarios, and has been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Use ThriveMap’s pre-hire assessment platform to:

  • Create your ideal candidate profiles
  • Match candidates to fit your job profiles and organisational culture
  • Deliver an industry-leading candidate experience

Request a demo to find out how ThriveMap can make your recruiting process faster, fairer and more effective.

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